Parts of a Medieval Castle: The Turret

A castle’s Turret is a small tower that projects vertically from the wall. Turrets provided a projecting defensive position that covered fire to its adjacent walls.

A turret could have a circular top with crenellations, a pointed roof, or an apex of some kind. Turrets sometimes contained a staircase that projected higher than the rest of the building. 

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Building a Turret

The difference between towers and turrets is that turrets project from the edge of a building, instead of continuing to the ground. This creates additional stresses on the structure, so they were usually supported by a corbel – a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall. For these reasons, turrets were usually rather small.

A castle could have both towers and turrets. In time, turrets became more ornamental than defensive. 

Turrets at Menstrie Castle.
Turrets at Menstrie Castle. CC image courtesy of David Gray and Flickr Commons.
Turrets at Glamis Castle.
Turrets at Glamis Castle. CC image courtesy of piningforthewest and Flickr Commons.

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